Bennington (Rt. 9) south to Consultation Peak.
We parked at the trail parking lot off Route 9 in Bennington, VT and headed south on the AT for the day.
The day started off cool, gray and overcast. The trail was quite steep at the beginning with large rocks, but it flattened out about a mile later. We encountered ~19 hikers before reaching the Congdon Shelter. The vast majority were through-hiking the Appalachian Trail / Long Trail; the others were section-hiking.
"Uncle Bob" told us the unrelenting rain did his hiking boots in -- indeed they did. His sole was barely attached to the boot, ready to give way at a moment's notice. He planned to head into Bennington to an outfitter.
We stopped at the shelter to rest and fill out the register before we continuing on. The sky brightened and we enjoyed hiking a nice section of the trail near a stream. After crossing the stream we followed alongside a pond with extensive beaver dams that were actually above the trail.
Our ascent to Consultation Peak was punctuated by darkening skies and rumbles of thunder. Thinking that sitting atop a mountain during a during a potential lightning strike may be imprudent, we ate a quick lunch and began our return hike.
We hiked with "Chopper" ( be sure to visit his blog) for a couple of miles as he shared the story of how he earned his trail name. We returned to the Congdon Shelter minutes before the skies opened with rain. We were fortunate to get our rain gear on before the deluge.
We made it back to the steep portion of the trail after hiking in steady rain for 2 hours. The descent was slow and slippery, as the big rocks posed a certain risk of breaking a bone is we lost our footing.
We ended a great day on the trail and gave Chopper a ride the hotel where he decided to stay (and dry out) for the night.